Managing medical advice seeking in calls to Child Health Line

Butler, Carly, Danby, Susan J., Emmison, Michael, & Thorpe, Karen J. (2009) Managing medical advice seeking in calls to Child Health Line. Sociology of Health and Illness, 31(6), pp. 817-834.

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Child Health Line is a 24-hour Australian helpline that offers information and support for parents and families on child development and parenting. The helpline guidelines suggest that nurses should not offer medical advice, however they regularly receive calls seeking such advice. This paper examines how the service guidelines are talked into being through the nurses’ management of caller’s requests for medical advice and information, and shows how nurses orient to the boundaries of their professional role and institutionally regulated authority. Three ways in which the child health nurses manage medical advice and information seeking are discussed: using membership as a nurse to establish boundaries of expertise, privileging parental authority regarding decision making about seeking treatment for their child, and respecifying a ‘medical’ problem as a child development issue. The paper contributes to research on medical authority, and nurse authority in particular, by demonstrating the impact of institutional roles and guidelines on displays of knowledge and expertise. More generally, it contributes to an understanding of the interactional enactment and consequences of service guidelines for telehealth practice, with implications for training, policy and service delivery.

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12 citations in Scopus
10 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 46671
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Submitted version saved to I: DRIVE sg 28.10.11
Keywords: helpline, advice, nurses, conversation analysis, telehealth, policy, child health
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2009.01179.x
ISSN: 1467-9566
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LINGUISTICS (200400) > Discourse and Pragmatics (200403)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Community Child Health (111704)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at
Deposited On: 27 Oct 2011 23:22
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2012 09:21

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